Health Research Board report shows true cost of alcohol misuse in Ireland

Health Research Board report shows true cost of alcohol misuse in Ireland

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Newly compiled data from the hospital in-patient reporting system confirms impact of alcohol consumption on health system. A new report from the Health Research Board (HRB), Alcohol in Ireland: consumption, harm, cost and policy response, was launched today. The report revealed the costs associated with alcohol misuse in Ireland.

Some of the key findings:

  • In 2014 Irish drinkers consumed on average 11 litres of pure alcohol each. This is equal to 29 litres of vodka, 116 bottles of wine or 445 pints of beer.
  • €1.5 billion is the cost to the tax-payer for alcohol-related discharges from hospital. That is equal to €1 for every €10 spent on public health in 2012. This excludes the cost of emergency cases, GP visits, psychiatric admissions and alcohol treatment services.
  • In 2013, three people a day died from alcohol related conditions.
  • Between 2001 and 2010, one in ten breast cancer cases were attributable to alcohol. 
  • Three people died each day in 2013 as a result of drinking alcohol. 
  • In 2014, one- in-three self-harm presentations were alcohol-related.
  • An estimated 167,170 people suffered an alcohol-related assault.

The report also highlighted the high levels of alcohol consumed in Ireland stating that in 2014 Irish people drank on average 11 litres of pure alcohol. This is 21% higher than the Department of Health’s target of 9.1 litres of pure alcohol, with the aim of this being achieved by 2020. A 2013 HRB study revealed that more than 50% of Irish drinkers consume alcohol in a harmful manner – too much alcohol in one sitting and more than the recommended number of standard drinks in a week.

Drinkaware works collaboratively to reduce the misuse of alcohol in Ireland. If you decide to drink alcohol, it is important to adhere to the Department of Health/HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption:

  • 11 standard drinks for women spread out over a week, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks for men spread out over a week, with at least two alcohol-free days

Common examples of one standard drink are a half-pint of beer, small glass of wine (100ml) or a pub measure of spirits (35.5ml).

Through our parents’ campaign we aim to support parents to have informed and timely conversations about alcohol with their children. Visit our Parent Page for more information on alcohol and young people and advice on how to start this important conversation.